I graduated from Anderson University with a core group of friends that all happened to be science majors. It’s not that I am anti-associating with other disciplines, those were just the people I spent the most time with. College memories, for me, are filled with late night study sessions, endless nutrient agar plates, frantic chalkboard diagrams, and the occasional chemical explosion.
Science majors are a weird breed. We have this insane desire to understand how everything works. For example, I recently went Putt-Putting with some friends from work. Halfway through, I found myself contemplating how much planning went into this particular Putt-Putt course. Obviously, these were not random mounds! Designers spent time calculating the average speed with which a golf ball is hit. They then strategically placed the hole and obstacles to allow for the possibility of a hole in one. Par values were calculated from equations; they were not arbitrary values. I mentioned this, and the fact that the skeletons decorating the course were anatomically incorrect. My work friends rolled their eyes and continued playing.
Science majors pride themselves on a knowledge set that a minute part of the population cares about. We fantasize about grandeur and are haunted by the prospect of medical or graduate school. We like to pretend that we are smarter, but secretly, we are just as scared as everyone else. We know a lot of facts, but rarely have “street smart” experience.
I like to be well-rounded. I was a Biology and Psychology major with a Spanish minor thrown in for good measure. However, I lacked street smarts and professional experience. Ask me a question and I can construct an experiment to answer it. Ask me how to write professional emails and network effectively, I get a little skittish.
Heading into senior year, I was conflicted. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, but I was not sure which program to choose. I was not sold on the idea of signing up for five more years in the laboratory setting. Besides, many of the programs I considered asked for professional experience. How was I supposed to get any of that? I knew what I liked, but I did not know how that translated into a career. Then, I stumbled upon the Orr Fellowship.
The Fellowship was my perfect solution. It gave me the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a fast paced environment. I was selected by Orbis Education, a company that works at the intersection of Healthcare and Education. I now have two years to grow personally and professionally before making a decision as life-changing as graduate school.
There is a reason that graduate programs ask for professional experience. You learn things in the working world that are impossible to learn anywhere else. My first three months have been a whirlwind. I have learned different software systems, various business terminologies, and how to work on a team to accomplish tasks.
Yes, there was a steep learning curve. But, I think science majors easily make the transition into the business world. We have been trained to think critically and understand all of the working parts of a system: necessary skills in any environment.
I am going to be honest, not every day is a picnic. Some days I miss devouring textbooks and I dream about graduate school. However, I know I made the right decision. I simply was not ready to take that step. I think a lot of college seniors, not just science majors, are in that boat.
Who knows exactly where I will be in a few years. What I do know is that whether or not I choose graduate school, I will be 100% confident in my decision. I will know beyond a shadow of a doubt if that is the program for me. And, along the way, I will have had an amazing experience with the Orr Fellowship.
So, I encourage you to take a chance and apply. Broaden your perspective. Allow yourself to mature and grow outside of the college environment. Besides, the application is just a resume, what do you have to lose?